Arkansas Healthcare

The head of Medicaid under former President George W. Bush will join the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences as a visiting professor and as an adviser for Medicaid and Health Care Reform for the Arkansas Department of Human Services.

UAMS said Friday that Dennis Smith will start the positions on Sept. 15.

UAMS said Smith will spend 10 percent of his time as a visiting professor at the Fay W. Boozman College of Public Health and the remainder as an adviser on Medicaid policy and operations for DHS.

 Arkansas election officials have approved a second measure legalizing medical marijuana for the November ballot.

Secretary of State Mark Martin's office on Wednesday verified supporters of the proposed constitutional amendment legalizing the drug for some patients because they turned in more than enough signatures to qualify. Backers of the proposal turned in 97,284 signatures from registered voters, more than the 84,859 needed to earn a spot on the ballot.

Former U.S. Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders and Arkansas Surgeon General Greg Bledsoe.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

Arkansans very well may have two medical marijuana ballot measures to vote on in November, with the battle firmly immersed in both political and scientific debates. 

medical money medicine
Talk Business & Politics

A group opposed to a ballot proposal that would place limits on damages in medical lawsuits is asking Arkansas' highest court to block voting on the proposed constitutional amendment in November.

Arkansas Capitol
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

State and public school employees will make bigger contributions for their health insurance in 2017, but the big increases are coming in later years, legislators were told Wednesday.

At a State & Public School Life & Health Insurance Task Force meeting, John Colberg with the independent actuarial firm Cheiron told legislators that public school employees and retirees will see a 2% increase in 2017, while state employees and retirees will see a 3% increase.

marijuana
npr.org

A group opposing efforts to legalize medical marijuana has asked Arkansas' highest court to block a legalization proposal from appearing on the November ballot.

Attorneys for Arkansans Against Legalized Marijuana on Wednesday asked the state Supreme Court to block the proposed initiated act, which would allow people with certain medical conditions to buy the drug. The secretary of state's office last month verified the measure had enough valid signatures to qualify for the ballot.

The lawsuit claims the wording of the proposal is misleading and omits key information.

Bart Hester
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

The number of private option recipients whose insurance premiums are being paid by the program reached 258,161 in July, up 55,000 more than in January.

The number was 213,026 in January. In June, 250,885 were on the program, according to a letter and information sent to Gov. Asa Hutchinson by Department of Human Services director Cindy Gillespie Aug. 17.

Arkansas Insurance Department Commissioner Alan Kerr (front) and Communications Director K Ryan James at a meeting of the Health Reform Legislative Task Force.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

The Arkansas Insurance Department is submitting health insurance rate increase requests to the federal government for approval on Tuesday and state officials are already expecting an even larger hike this time next year. 

marijuana
npr.org

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has again rejected a proposed constitutional amendment for the 2018 ballot to legalize marijuana in the state.

The proposal by Mary Berry of Summit would allow the cultivation, production, distribution, sale, possession and use of the cannabis plant and all products taken from the plant, including marijuana.

telemedicine
www.rochester.edu

A rule allowing doctors and patients to establish a relationship using audiovisual technology was approved by a legislative subcommittee Tuesday. But the rule still would not let some telemedicine companies operate in Arkansas, so those companies will attempt to change the law in next year’s legislative session.

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